Drama, music and the outdoor world are the big themes for the 2015 edition of Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend. For the third year running, the Antrim coast village of Cushendun will host a programme of arts events to delight, inspire and entertain over the May Bank Holiday weekend. With highlights including the first performance of a new play, an evening of cool jazz and a jam-packed family fun day, the Big Arts Weekend promises enjoyment for all tastes and ages.
The weekend kicks off with a Friday night of laid-back jazz from BBC Radio Ulster’s jazz presenter Linley Hamilton and the Julian Bohn trio.
On Saturday evening, a powerful new autobiographical play will be premiered in Knocknacarry Hall. Entitled NewBliss, the play follows the story of saxophone and clarinet player Keith Donald, who, in the course of a career spanning six decades, has played with the likes of Van Morrison, Christy Moore and the Moving Hearts. The play charts the highs and lows of a life as a musician – from pit orchestra gigs to pay the bills to sold-out stadium tours across North America, Africa and Europe – much of which was spent under the shadow of alcoholism.
Sunday’s events are all about the great outdoors. Early risers are invited to a Dawn Chorus walk through Cregagh Wood, where a guide from the local Heritage Trust will introduce walkers to an open-air concert of birdsong. On Sunday afternoon, Glenmona House will host the Big Picnic, a family festival with face-painting, traditional games and music, with plenty of green spaces to run around in and explore. For artistic children of all ages, Makendoo will be on hand to help you create sensational hats and headdresses. Down on the beach, the creativity continues with Cushendun’s splendid annual sand sculpture competition.
On Bank Holiday Monday, the Music for a May Evening event will feature Corcra in concert in St Patrick’s Church, Cushendun, with an eclectic mix of songs and music to round off the weekend’s programme.
These are just some highlights of the Big Arts Weekend, which also includes live poetry with Elaine Gaston, in association with the John Hewitt Society, an exhibition of local artists’ work, and three rare films. The full programme is available at www.cushendunbpt.org, where you can book tickets for the performances and register for the many free events.
So whether you are a theatre buff, a music fan, a lover of nature or a small person bursting with energy and imagination, Cushendun is the place to be this May Bank Holiday weekend. A warm welcome awaits!